Covering High School Sports in America
After more than 40 years in education and 11 as the CIF State Executive Director, Marie M. Ishida will retire at the end of the 2011-12 school year she announced Friday.

Photo by Todd Shurtleff

Marie M. Ishida.

Ishida, the seventh chief executive officer of the organization has served in her current role since April 2001. During her tenure the CIF has made tremendous progress in almost all areas that have been targeted by the CIF.

She's given more than four decades as a teacher, coach, administrator and board member before taking the state's highest post. Part of her legacy will be bringing back the high school football championships, being approachable and fair and setting the CIF up financially with a 15-year TV deal with Time Warner Cable.

"It has been an honor to serve as the CIF Executive Director for the past 11 years," she said via a press release Friday. "When I was initially selected for this post I said at that time that this was my dream job. It has been just that. I could not have held any other position that has been so satisfying to end my educational career."

Ishida starting as a teacher and coach in Southern California before taking the assistant principal post at Santa Cruz High School from 1980 to 1986. She took over as principal at Carmel High School for nine years starting in 1986.

Ishida was the CIF President during the formation and implementation of the organization's strategic plan. She served in numerous capacities throughout the 90s and served two terms, once as a board member and executive director, on the board of directors for the NFHS, only the third member from California ever selected to this prestigious post.

On both that state and national level, Ishida has received many accolades and honors, including in 1997, the NFHS Outstanding Service Award.

She was also honored with an Extraordinary Service Award by the CIF and received the California Coaches Association's highest honor as a recipient of the William S. Rockwell Distinguished Service Award.

"Marie has done outstanding work on behalf of the student-athletes of California," CIF President Heather Daims said. "Her tenacity and work ethic have left the CIF on solid fiscal and organizational footing. We have all been very fortunate to work with this visionary, selfless leader and we will miss her at the helm, but we are thrilled that she is finally taking the time to enjoy life and focus on herself.

"We certainly want to thank her for her amazing work these past 11 years and we wish her the best of life in retirement."

The CIF Executive Committee will begin the search for the new candidate immediately, with the new CIF Executive Director being announced at the CIF Federated Council meeting in May.

From a personal standpoint, I've always been impressed how Ishida has gone about her business: Quiet, strong and genuine. It never seems to be about her, which is a conflict for most people in power. She's open and honest - never turned me down for an interview, and she returned all calls promptly.

Her answers were always thoughtful and genuine, not always the case with people in high places.

Her mirth and good nature will strongly be missed by us in the media. I too wish her well in retirement, but will look forward to her final four months in office.
Photo by Todd Shurtleff

Marie M. Ishida helped bring back the state football championships to California.